Kiss a Ginger Day: Chapter 2

Note: ffyc is the Welsh word for f*ck. So, amazingly, not a typo!

Alice was going to be bloody pissed when she found who he was. Theodore was having too much fun with her, though, to burst the bubble yet. He held the wine bottle over her half-empty glass. “More?”

“Always assume a woman with frozen feet in a Wales rugby jersey five times her size wants more.”

He poured wine into her glass. “I’ll remember that next time I carry a woman through the snow and have to lend her my favorite item of clothing.” He hadn’t minded. She’d had a rough night, and he spent so many nights alone on his temporary gigs, it was nice to have someone to hang out with. Especially someone who was obviously smart and pretty.

She snuggled her glass to her chest. “I can’t believe you have a working fireplace.”

The flame’s light danced over her dark hair and was reflected in her warm hazel eyes. Keeping his eyes off her was impossible. Mischievous little smiles kept drawing his attention to her mouth.

“I can’t believe people don’t demand it,” he said. “Though given I paid nearly $5 for a piece of wood, I can see why not.”

She nodded. “Yeah, DC prices are ridiculous.”

They were. But they were that high in the U.K., too, only mostly for different items. He couldn’t get over what people had to pay for in this country–from copyright protection to healthcare. Paying as much as he had for firewood had merely been an additional insult.

Her gaze flicked around his flat, a fully-furnished, also-over-priced piece of real estate to lay his head for the next few months—or however long this recent consulting job took.

Her lips pursed. “Why are you here anyway? What do you do?”

“Ah, the famous question everyone here seems to be super excited about.” He’d been here for a full week and at least five times a day people asked him “what he did.” It was downright crackers that was the first question anyone in this city asked him.

At first, he’d tell them “management.” Their mouths would open a little and they’d nod with a long “ah” coming out of their mouth.

Then, when that got boring, he’d changed it up a bit. So far, he’d declared himself a professional mourner, Bingo caller, iceberg mover, and his all-time favorite, a peacock wrangler. None of it was untrue if you thought about it. He often had to deal with tears, lucky draws, icy glares, and preening egos.

With little he knew about Alice, she’d want the reality, however. “I tell the truth.” That’s as much as he could tell her given his most recent NDA.

She half laughed. “Okay. I get it. People talk about work too much here anyway.”

She drained her wine glass, held it out for more. He obliged.

A cute little hiccup left her throat, she pressed a finger to her sternum. “I’m going to regret this in the morning. Especially when I have to figure out how to get home, get changed and get to work on time.” Her hands flew to her lips. “Oops. Talked about work again.”

“Are you between boyfriends?” He couldn’t get over this woman wasn’t snatched up already.

Her chin jutted back in surprise. “Between?”

“If you had one, he’d have come to get you tonight.”

An adorable snort came out of her nose, and she waved her hand. “In DC? I could be married and he’d have called me a taxi.” Though none seemed willing to come get her tonight as they’d discovered. Ran through five cab companies, all of whom laughed as if they’d ask someone to drive her to the moon. His own rental was also snowed under

He wasn’t sorry, however. “So, no man in your life. Lucky me. Though it’s been ‘Kiss a Ginger’ day for over an hour and I’m not getting very lucky here.”

Her face fell, tension gripping her shoulders.

“Just teasing. Not trying to shag you, love. Won’t even give you the pleasure of my kiss. Not proper and all that.”

“That is so British.”

“Okay then.” He slapped his lap. “Jump aboard.”

“You’d faint from pure pleasure.” She breathed into her wine glass.

He winked. “I give you permission to keep going if I do. Full consent.”

A fit of giggles caught her. “I wouldn’t want you to feel used. Next morning and all that.”

“I appreciate you protecting my virtue. You are a good woman, Alice.”

She pushed at his shoulder. “You’re funny. Most guys in this town have no sense of humor. Get ready to be jumped at every turn. Unless you have a girlfriend, of course.”

A stab went through his heart. No girlfriend—at least not anymore. “She’s back in Wales.” He checked his watch. “She should be catching her flight to Ibiza for her honeymoon any minute.” The words burned in his throat.

“Excuse me?”

“Married my best mate.” He took a slug of wine himself. Ex-friend, more like it. And for the life of him he didn’t know why he told her that.

She let her gaze drift to the fire. “That’s not very best-matey, if you ask me.” Her words were a little loose, like the wine’s effects had taken hold.

“Still got them a gift. Made sure it got into their suitcases before they left.”

She sliced her eyes his way. “Tell me it was something deserving.” She leaned over as if her balance also was being compromised.

“A few well-placed stinkbugs in her trousseau. Planted by a friend.” He shrugged. “Nothing major.” Though incredibly satisfying.

She gasped through her ear to ear grin, showing him she was hardly upset about his incredibly juvenile act. Still wasn’t sorry about it.

“So much restraint, Theodore.” She mock punched him in the arm. “I’d have gone for something much bigger. Sheep dung at least. In fact, you know what?”

She dramatically set down her glass, wine splashing a little on her hand. She licked it off and then leaned over to him. “We are both recent victims of crimes, so we must celebrate today’s holiday after all.” Definitely slurring now. “It’s my New Year’s Resolution. Make better choices.” She hiccuped and pointed her forehead. “Eyezopen.”

She squinted at him. “You haz nice eyezzz.” She then launched herself at him and he found not only his arms full of her, but her mouth firmly on his.

In general, he found the act of kissing to be pleasant enough. But when she slipped him a little tongue, slow, soft and hot, his standards instantly raised. His arms mashed her closer to him. Any thought about how what they were doing was wrong had disappeared as soon as the tip of her tongue touched his.

Her weight shifted and—ffyc me—she straddled his lap.

She came up for air, brushed her hair off her face. “I don’t care if you did make up Kiss a Ginger Day –”

“I didn’t.” Somehow he got the two words out in a long breath. The day was real, though he’d been teasing about her fulfilling on it. Thank God, she didn’t view it that way.

“Oh, good.” She kissed him again, and if anyone asked him, he’d say moving to America could be on the table. She was that good.

She broke the lip hold again. “I’m zzleepy.” Her lids were at half mast. She’d had too much to drink. While a certain part of his anatomy was ready to go forth and conquer, his morals—the spoilsports—took hold. Time to stop.

She leaned forward, put forehead to forehead. “Hey, I got an idea.”

“Me, too. Time to sleep, love.” He pushed her off his lap, and she dramatically slumped to her side of the couch.

“Awww, come on. Revenge is ourzz.” She pounded the seat cushion, but let her head fall back.

He rose and pulled a blanket off the rocking chair in the corner. When he turned around, she’d curled into herself against the back of the couch, eyes closed. “I’m very, very good at revenge,” she said softly.

He couldn’t help but laugh. “I bet you are.” After securing the blanket around her form, he turned off the lights. Time for bed himself.

Voicing what happened between him and Beatrice had taken its usual toll. His entire body was weighted down, like his bones were made of lead. What had been worse than her declaration she never loved him was Canton’s lack of an apology. Just a shrug and “tough break mate” thrown at him when Theodore confronted the guy.

Perhaps he’d told Alice about the betrayal because she was easy to talk to. That would only make the coming morning harder. She might never speak to him again after she was re-introduced to him at Edison Tech’s Friday staff meeting.

The company wasn’t doing well and the owners wanted him to uncover what was happening. He was sworn to secrecy to talk about why he was being brought in, just that as a management consultant he was there to, ostensibly, “reduce all redundancies”.

Her name was on the suspect list. And when she found out? He could only hope she kidded about her payback skills.

Click here for Chapter 3!